The process for obtaining dental x-ray certification may vary according to where you live or where you intend to work. In most places, however, you can become certified to perform dental x-rays by becoming a dental technician, a dental hygienist or a dental assistant first. Investigate the programs or training courses available in your area, as well as the precise laws that relate to dental x-ray certification. You may also become certified as a general x-ray technician before specializing in dental radiography.
In order to become a dental assistant, a dental technician or a dental hygienist, you will first need to be trained either on the job or through a specific training program. While completion times may vary, most programs take at least one year to complete. After training, however, you will also need to become legally certified to administer x-rays by your local government authority. While many do enter the field of dental assisting through on-the-job training, be aware that to obtain dental x-ray certification, most governments require individuals to be trained at an accredited school or program first.
In addition to a core training program, additional courses in radiology may be required before you are allowed to take certification examinations. This requirement varies according to where you plan to work, so check with your local authorities to determine whether or not this applies to you. Be aware that you may also need to occasionally take additional courses even after obtaining dental x-ray certification, as some jurisdictions require continuing education hours to periodically renew certifications.
You may also receive dental x-ray certification by first becoming a radiologic technologist before specializing in dental x-rays. This approach will not only prepare you to work in dentistry, but will offer you broader opportunities to work in other health settings, as well. In order to do so, however, you must first attend specialized and accredited training, which may take a year or two to complete. After training, licensing examinations and procedures will vary according to where you live and plan to work. In many cases, however, training prepares you to take the appropriate exams and enter the field with full certification soon thereafter.
In addition to enrolling in the appropriate courses to ultimately achieve dental x-ray certification, it is important to strengthen a few other skills to be successful in training and testing and to obtain employment. For instance, working as a dental x-ray technician requires employees to pay very strong attention to detail, as well as possess an ability to follow directions well. Having good manual dexterity also helps, as does an ability to communicate well with patients during x-ray procedures. Prior to investing the time and money needed for training for dental x-ray certification, it is important that you honestly assess whether or not you possess these strengths.